Joy, as one who has recommended Last Good Kiss on occasion (I think it is the best PI novel of the past 30-40 years), I'm glad you liked it. I also recommend Dancing Bear, Crumley's next book, which stars his other PI, Milo Milodragovitch (Shugrue makes a few short, uncredited appearances). Milo also appeared in Crumley's earlier The Wrong Case, which owes A LOT to Ross MacDonald. The books following Bear start a slow slide, in my opinion, but what could compare to Last Good Kiss?
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> From: email@example.com
> Date: Tue, 21 Apr 2009 11:16:57 -0400
> Subject: Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Maj Sj÷wall and Per Wahl÷÷'s Martin Beck series
> Thanks, Luci, for the tip on the recent republication of the series. I
> loved a couple of them way back when, and someone here said they /must
> /be savored in order. So figuring out their order, assembling the few I
> have (somewhere), and acquiring the rest has been a task the back of my
> mind has assigned to my retirement. In view of last year's investment
> debacle, retirement now will begin at age 92. So now I'll look for a
> used set that's crossed the Pond or, failing that, consult the UK
> onlines, and enjoy the books now!
> And also thanks to all of you who every so often tout Crumley's The
> Last Good Kiss. I bought a battered paperback at one of those $1/bag
> library sales, and it's all you claimed, and more. I have another in the
> series, but from the dust jacket flap, it's much, much later, so now I
> need to find out what's next and get it.
> Luci wrote:
>> I've finally got round to reading the first 5 of these - I meant to for
>> years and they were recently (in the last few years) reprinted in the UK in
>> a lovely set of coordinated edition paperbacks with introductions by crime
>> writers including the contemporary Swedish author Henning Mankell, Val
>> McDermid, Andrew Taylor, Michael Connelly. I guess it's not very noir or
>> hardboiled to be drawn to the matching set, but I can't help it.
>> Recommendation by other writers is a selling point that works very well on
>> me too. And I'd heard that they were Marxists and for me that made me want
>> to read them more, though I realise that might not be considered a plus by
>> everyone. So I couldn't resist buying the whole set at a bargain price
>> recently and have been alternating them with catching up with Rick Riordan's
>> wonderful Tres Navarre books.
>> They are police procedurals but while I wouldn't say they're noir/hardboiled
>> I think they'd appeal to most people who like reading in this area of the
>> genre. They're quite well written, with social comment and a dry sense of
>> humour. They're slow moving (I guess that might put off some fans of very
>> action based PI fiction but noir is often not very fast moving either) with
>> investigations often dragged out and frustrated by absurd bureaucracy.
>> Unlike Jim, I haven't come across any apologias for a discredited
>> (deservedly or otherwise) political system. They're pretty critical of
>> Swedish social democracy at the time (the late 60s, the later books are set
>> in the early 70s, all of them seem to be set pretty close to when they were
>> written and published). In relation to Communism, one investigation actually
>> takes Martin Beck, the main character, to Budapest in Hungary but this isn't
>> seen as an opportunity to describe a wonderful place or an ideal political
>> system - investigating crime in Budapest doesn't seem to be that different
>> in the book from investigating crime in Stockholm, actually.
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